Friday, September 25, 2015

The Birth of Benjamin {Through Robin's Eyes}

Ever since I knew that such a thing as birth photography existed, I wanted it.  Through the years, I have been especially inspired by Renee, a blogger I've followed for years, as she's built her birth photography (and other photography, too) business; and each time I've seen the photos from a birth, I've been drawn more and more to that record of some of the most intense and meaningful moments in a mother's life.

When I was pregnant with Moriah, I brought up the subject with Jeff and discovered that he wasn't in agreement.  That difference of opinion, which could have become a sour note in our relationship, actually led to a deeper level of love and respect between us (story told here); and I don't regret--not even a tiny bit--how all of that turned out.

But then I got pregnant again; and, knowing that it was almost certainly my last pregnancy, I again felt the nudge to have a birth photographer present during this birth.  And so, with some uncertainty, I approached Jeff about it.  To my great delight, he said yes--provided the cost wasn't too great and preferably with a photographer that we knew and were already somewhat comfortable with.

As it turned out, we asked Robin--a talented local photographer whom Jeff knew from her bringing her son into the barbershop for haircuts and I knew because she works in my midwives' office--if she might be interested in taking photos during the birth.  We knew she couldn't guarantee to be there, especially because she has a "real" job; and we certainly didn't expect her to be able to drop everything and come when we called.  But we wondered if she would be willing to come IF my labor started at a convenient time for her, and we were so happy when she said yes.  Even though I knew that, despite her agreement, it still might not work out for her to be there, I had a deep sense of peace that somehow it would work out...and even if it didn't, it would be OK.  I was content to let the timing of events be the determining factor in whether we had birth photos or not, but I really did feel like God would orchestrate things so that Robin could be a part of our big event...and I was so looking forward to her participation!  :)

When my labor did begin, that Saturday night here at home, Jeff texted Robin to let her know something was happening; and I rejoiced that indeed, God had worked it out so that Robin could be a part.  Not only was it night, it was also a weekend; and Robin's job wouldn't get in the way.  Of course, she did have to get out of bed in the wee hours of a Sunday morning though...  :)

I've already written about Robin's arrival at the hospital.  We sure didn't give her much time to spare!  :)  She told us later that she parked in the regular lot, then realized that the normal entrance was locked, so she had to go back and go around to the emergency entrance.  Then she had to sign in with security which was taking her a while, and she was anxious to hurry upstairs and find us.  It all turned out just fine, but she didn't have much time to twiddle her thumbs before Benjamin was born.  :)

In the third part of Benjamin's birth story, I went back and included some additions and corrections at the bottom of that post; and some of those came from these pictures Robin took.  You can't argue with a photograph!  :)  One of the chief reasons I was so eager to have birth photographs is because when I'm giving birth, I'm in such a tunnel of focus that I am largely unaware of what is going on around me.  I so much wanted to be more aware of how things had really gone, not just for me, but for those with me; and these photographs are the only way I could do that.  :)

And now, without further ado, let me present to you another view of Benjamin's birth, this one through the lens of Robin's camera!!!  :)  I've included many, many pictures because I couldn't bear to leave any of them out.  Enjoy!  :)

I later asked Jeff if he was uncomfortable, half-standing, half-kneeling by the tub (his right knee is on the edge of the tub).  He said it wasn't bad; and as it turned out, he didn't have to do it too long.  :)
To me, these images show STRENGTH pouring out of Jeff and into me.  I love how our rings are visible--the symbols of our commitment to each other being displayed at such an intense, bonding time.
I was so glad Robin went out and got a picture of the room number because otherwise, I would have had no idea what room I had been in!
About 30 seconds later, the action began!  Jeff saw that Benjamin's head was out and put his hand in the water to catch him if necessary, the nurse realized what was happening...
...and then AlexAnn, the midwife, was there... hold his head and tell me to give one more push for the shoulders...
...and then HE WAS BORN!!!
And then I went into shock.  ;-)
I'm still in it, when I remember the events of those 23 seconds!  ;-)
There is Jeff's wet hand.  :)
At least the midwife is smiling.  :)

I didn't remember that Jeff kept stroking my head, but I love seeing his tenderness in these pictures.  :)

Being helped back to bed...
...and dealing with a major case of the shakes.
Those warm blankets felt so good.  :)

Our beloved Benjamin!
My beloved Jeff!
For some of these, I couldn't decide whether I liked them in color or black & white I included both.  :)

Jeff got to eventually cut the cord.  He spends a lot of time with scissors in his hands so this wasn't a hard job for him.  ;-)
After the placenta came out, AlexAnn held it up for me to see.  One glance was enough since I don't find placentas particularly attractive.  ;-)  Robin asked if I wanted a picture of it, but I declined.  ;-)  As a matter of fact, not long ago I was looking in a picture file on the computer and stumbled across a picture of my placenta from when Moriah was born, I think.  It startled me so much I didn't want another one of those pictures floating around!  ;-)

Enjoying the getting-to-know-you process...  :)

When the nurse got Benjamin's feet inked and ready to do his footprints, she held up the paper to press his feet on; but in the process, he suddenly kicked and actually managed to put one of his feet twice on the paper.  It looks, on the official paper, like he has three feet.  ;-)

8 pounds, 9 ounces means he's my third heaviest baby (Tobin was 8 lbs, 14 oz; and Shav was 8 lbs, 15 oz).
This was Becky, my main nurse.

The black & white photo below is one of my favorites.  I just love it.  :)

Such a sweet time of companionship for a husband and wife!  :)

Jeff announced the news to family and friends.  He made a few phone calls; but since it was the middle of the night, he mostly relied on social media.  We laughed as friends on Facebook started "liking" and commenting on his posts, because the early responders all seemed to live in other time zones...South Africa, Hawaii, Israel, Scotland, etc.  Nobody in Virginia was awake!  :)

AlexAnn checked on me one last time and then left to get some sleep.
I was glad this labor hadn't taken up her whole night!  :)

Jeff got his turn to hold Benjamin.  :)

Time for Benjamin's first bath.
This nurse, by the way, whose name I don't remember, had been one of the nurses when Moriah was born, too; and she said she remembered me.  :)
I was enjoying the show apparently.  :)

After that, Robin asked if there was anything else we wanted her to photograph; but we, with hearts full of gratitude, said no and said goodbye so she could go home and get some sleep in the remaining hours of the night.  :)  I'm not sure if she knew, as she carried her camera bag out the door, how great the treasure was that she was holding.  I'm not sure if she knows, even now, how extremely meaningful these photos are to me.

To have one of the greatest moments of my life captured in such a beautiful way...I hardly have words to say how grateful I am.

Thank you, Jeff, for letting someone come and take pictures during such an intimate time.

Thank you, Robin, for being that someone who gave up sleep and responded with such excitement--not to mention, skill.

And thank You, God, for orchestrating all the details so that it all worked out!!!  :)


A said...

Had to laugh when you mentioned the placenta. My rotation in OB starts soon and our instructor told us we were to "get your hands on that placenta and play with it, poke it, look at it." Suuuure :)
Congratulations! The photos are wonderful!


Polly said...

How sweet! I love your photos. I enjoy seeing other people's birth photos. My doula took photos when Annie was born--but I didn't realize she would take them *during delivery!* I deleted most of those, but loved the ones from just after. It is so sweet to have a record of our first moments with our little girl. Such a precious time! I know you are loving little Benjamin.

Heart of Wisdom Academy said...

So special, thanks for sharing.